I like my EarPods. Yeah, not the new fancy wireless ones. Just the standard wired earbuds that have come with iPhones for a long time. At one point I realized I prefer to use my EarPods during meetings. I was actually using my iPad instead of my computer to join meetings simply because I could use the EarPods.

Why, you ask? I just like my EarPods. I couldn’t figure out how to use them properly with my computer, so I just stuck with my iPad. They have a 3.5 mm audio plug that should plug into my computer, but I couldn’t get the microphone to work properly no matter what I tried.

I tried the special headphone “Y” adapters that break out separate 3.5 mm plugs for the headphone and microphone jacks. As usual, the headphone portion worked great, but the microphone wouldn’t work. Most of the listings on Amazon for these adapters make it very clear that they don’t work with Apple earbuds, so this isn’t a surprise. I even tried CTIA to OMTP adapters. Nothing would work. Also not a surprise: the buttons wouldn’t work either. In fact, when I pressed one of the buttons, it would record a screeching noise through the mic input.

I tried Googling but I couldn’t find anybody with a real solution. The answers mostly just amounted to “get a different headset.” I recently tried searching again, and I have finally found a solution. Here goes. I’m splitting it into two sections: one for 3.5 mm EarPods, one for Lightning EarPods.

EarPods with 3.5 mm audio plug

These are the EarPods included with all the iPhones prior to the 7, when Apple ditched the headphone jack. The solution to using these with a computer is quite easy. You simply need an Apple USB-C to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter, which costs $9. If your computer doesn’t have a USB-C port, you can buy an adapter that converts from USB-C to USB-A. Here’s an example on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t even need to support USB 3.0 speeds. It just needs to convert USB-C female to USB-A male.

Plug the EarPods into the USB-C to 3.5 mm adapter, and then plug the adapter into your computer (either directly, if you have a USB-C port, or through the C-to-A adapter, if you only have USB-A ports).

It will appear in your operating system as a USB speaker/microphone device. You should be able to go into your sound settings and select it as both an input and output device. You will also notice that the buttons will work. That’s because it also enumerates as a USB HID device.

Lightning EarPods

If you have the newer Lightning EarPods that don’t have a 3.5 mm plug, it’s also possible to use them with your computer. There is a USB-C to Lightning Audio Adapter made by Anker. It’s pretty expensive for what it does, but it does the trick. There is also a USB-A version of the same adapter. Note that these adapters don’t work with Lightning to 3.5 mm adapters. They only work with actual Lightning EarPods (and other native Lightning audio devices). But that’s okay, because the solution I provided above for 3.5 mm EarPods is much cheaper.

Just like the 3.5 mm adapter listed above, it will also appear in your operating system as a USB speaker/microphone, and a USB HID device for the buttons.

Conclusion

I don’t know why this solution isn’t advertised more prominently around the internet. It’s super easy to use your EarPods with your computer, even with support for the mic and buttons. You just need the correct adapter. I hope this blog post helped someone out there find the adapter they were looking for!

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